I Discovered that It’s Okay to Be Funny and Have Fun on LinkedIn
One fine day I was chatting up with a friend over coffee. Over the timeline of our conversation, he happened to mention about LinkedIn, and how his job searches on the ‘world’s largest professional network’ hadn’t yielded any good outcomes. I asked him to show me his resume. He dashed over to the other room and returned with his laptop in hand. He logged into his LinkedIn page and navigated through to show me his professional credentials that he put up. I skimmed through quickly. My first impression was, “How boring!” I made it known to him. And he immediately said to me, “How else do you want me to represent myself here? I cannot possibly share my humorous raves and rants here. Can I?” My friend’s response triggered me. “Is it allowed or okay to be funny on LinkedIn?” I wondered to myself.
So, I set out on a mission to study and find out, “is it okay to be funny on LinkedIn?” Over the years, LinkedIn has evolved. But there is a sort of a permanent perception about it that it is quite bland and un-engaging as far as content is concerned. I mean, if you compare LinkedIn to its other counterparts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the professional networking site appears to be a colorless distant relative who talks all business and nothing fun.
Many a time, I have received marketing messages from brands on LinkedIn. My first instinct is to be funny and write-back a witty reply, but I don’t. I simply press the “I am not interested” button and move on. Today though, the millennials have changed the rules of business networking, and there is a softer way of dealing with professional chatter online.
While most people are debating about “is it okay to be funny on LinkedIn,” the posts on the platform have gone from being “precise to the point of boring” to “conversational and storied.” Professionals are unafraid to come forward and tell their work-life stories, and even poke a little fun in between. The changed tonality of the content on LinkedIn has affected the way professionals look at other professionals. For example, nowadays, when I connect with a new professional on the website, I make sure that I insert an informal introductory message that works as an icebreaker. 90 of 100 times, this new approach has worked (the remaining ten times, I got no replies from the other side.)
Besides the direct messaging routine, I would say that there are different ways to make your LinkedIn profile and personality seem more engaging. You don’t always have to share articles, news, and updates that project you in a professional light. It’s completely okay to post content that draws smiles and chuckles from the people in your network. Remember, the content that you put up on any of your social network handles is all but a reflection of who you are. So, if you’re a charming and fun-loving professional who is a hard worker, why not let that come across on LinkedIn as well. Being yourself – even if that means being funny occasionally – is allowed here. And this dictate doesn’t only apply to individuals; brands should also have some good fun too!
I love comedy and then guess what businesses do too. Laughter is the best medicine, and brands are starting to wake up to its potential as a marketing tool. I have read umpteen articles and blogs wherein the world’s top and upcoming marketers have elaborated on the advantages of being funny. Today, the B2B marketing template has got a makeover. One of the most common observations in this context has been that visual comedy works wonderfully on LinkedIn. As a result, brands and marketers spend long hours and enormous money on creating social media that is fun to watch and laughable enough to become memorable. By injecting relevant humor in their posts, videos and images, brands are increasing their rate of relatability and recall. So, why shouldn’t professionals – as individuals – do the same?
Turns out the there is a definitive answer to the burning question, “is it okay to be funny on LinkedIn?” Being funny on LinkedIn is a strategic advantage that many people fail to recognize. I change my LinkedIn profile’s content once every six months. I don’t do it because I change jobs often. Instead, I do it because I want to sustain my ratings as an interesting and engaging professional on the network. Also, employers are always searching for candidates with an X factor – mine happens to be my strong work ethic and my sense of humor. So why not advertise it to enhance my employability?
Also, the last time I checked; my IT friend gave LinkedIn profile a makeover. He’s also become more approachable because he changed the way he replied to potential job offers. Charming and witty responses landed him a new employment gig three months ago. He and his LinkedIn profile are in a happier place now. Amen.